One very common thread which weaves through the lives of each and every ASD family is the thread of chaos. Our schedules are not typical. Our daily pace is not normal. We learn to operate on an elevated plane of disorder and contingency plans. Speaking for myself, in our early years of therapy and diagnosis, I remember wondering when the “break” was going to arrive. After all, raising children through grade school is uber-challenging today regardless of the household so factoring in autism with my first-born certainly didn’t make our task any simpler.
Through some of the toughest days, I found myself dwelling in the wrong places, focusing on the struggle and the annoyances of the daily grind. I longed to have a “normal” situation like so many of my mother-peers seemed to enjoy, where simple tasks such as getting kids dressed or running errands to the store were not emotionally exhausting. Please hear me: those are normal feelings! But, a tremendous lesson I’ve accepted along the way is to intentionally choose to dwell in GRATITUDE, even (and especially) when I am not feeling grateful. I don’t at all dismiss my emotions or my struggle but I choose to not let them define me nor determine my happiness in life.
Instead, I dwell in the good spaces in life and there is much good upon which to dwell! Especially on hard days, I make short lists (mental or written) of the things I can think of which I am thankful for. Anything. Perhaps it looks like this:
- I am thankful I have a car
- My daughter remembered to rinse out the shampoo last night!
- We have enough food to eat tonight
- Two days in a row without bullying at school
Yours will look similar, but it will be your own. These little lists help me keep life and its problems right-sized; meaning, they don’t get so big that they blot out the good things we have to be grateful for.
At PediaPlex, we exist to serve you and your children and have a major case of gratitude this fall season as we prepare to open our second location in Alliance! This will allow us to serve so many more families and be a safe place for their kiddos to come for therapy. I hope you truly experience GRATITUDE this season and find the joy in the midst of chaos. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and we hope to see you at the new Alliance location soon!
The PediaPlex Family